Planning permission sought for Grutness ferry terminal revamp

MORE details have become available about the proposed revamp of the Grutness ferry terminal in the South Mainland as Shetland Islands Council seeks planning permission for the project.

A linkspan is set to be installed to allow a new ro-ro Fair Isle ferry to berth there, whilst other work such as extending the pier is also proposed.

Funding for a new ferry plus harbour improvements worth around £27 million has been awarded by the UK Government, and the planning application for the Grutness work marks another milestone in the process.

The existing ferry Good Shepherd IV is not a ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) so a linkspan – effectively the bridge connecting the boat to the shore – has not been needed before.

The proposed works at Grutness – located at the very southern tip of the South Mainland – include extending the existing pier and rock armour in a ‘dog leg’ shape to provide shelter.

The height of the existing rock armour would be increased to the north of the pier, to reduce the impact of swell.

The Fair Isle ferry travels to Grutness at the tip of the south mainland. Photo: Shetland News

There would also be dredging to provide enough water depth for a new vessel, and a reconfiguration of the road area at the terminal.

It is estimated that work could start in 2024 and conclude the following year.

A planning statement prepared by consultants Stantec on behalf of the council says any potential adverse impacts on the local environment at Grutness are addressed and mitigated.

It is expected that up to 328 sheet piles will be required to be driven into the seabed to construct the extension to the pier.

Meanwhile the maximum size of the area to be dredged at Grutness is approximately 12,000 square metres.

The environmental report concludes that the “potential effects that can be attributed to the proposed works are very localised and considered to be negligible/minimal for all receptors both alone and cumulatively/in-combination with other plans, projects and ongoing activities”.

Improvements are also planned at Fair Isle’s North Haven harbour to allow a new ferry to berth.

Shetland News